Dylan Farrow Details Her Allegations of Sexual Assault by Woody Allen | The Mary Sue
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Dylan Farrow Details Her Allegations of Sexual Assault by Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow has maintained for years that the director molested her as a child. On Thursday, she addressed the matter in an on-camera interview for the first time.

Farrow spoke with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, and was the frank and forthcoming—and uncompromising—voice that we’ve come to expect from her. If you’ve followed Farrow’s story, you likely know the outline of her allegations, which she further explained to King.

“I loved my father,” Farrow said. “I respected him. He was my hero. And that doesn’t obviously take away from what he did. But it does make the betrayal and the hurt that much more intense.”

Farrow described how, on Aug. 4, 1992, her father took her to an attic crawl space in her mother’s country house in Connecticut. “He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up. He sat behind me in the doorway, and as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted. As a seven-year-old, I would say he touched my private parts, which I did say.”

Farrow has been telling the same account of the alleged assault by Allen for a long time. She first publicly detailed it in writing in an open letter published in 2014 on Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times blog, which contains a lengthy disclaimer from Krisof about how Farrow’s allegations were first mentioned during the “sensational” split between Allen and her mother Mia Farrow. Kristof said that Allen should be presumed innocent because he was never prosecuted—but that was is still important to hear Dylan Farrow’s side of the story, considering that Woody Allen had just been honored with the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award despite his questionable history.

The letter was a big deal back in 2014, when letting survivors push back and go public about incidents of alleged abuse was not commonplace. In 2014, Harvey Weinstein was still the producer-king of Hollywood.

In her interview with King, Farrow speaks further about Allen’s alleged behavior towards her when she was a child.

“…always touching me, cuddling me and if I ever said, you know, like I want to go off by myself, he wouldn’t let me…He often asked me to get into bed with him when he had only his underwear on and sometimes when only I had my underwear on.”

But Farrow’s most damning assertion—one that everyone should hear and think very hard about—comes when King asks about Allen’s “defense” against her accusations. He’s claimed that Dylan was coached by her mother Mia Farrow into making false accusations, prompted by Mia Farrow’s anger that Allen was having an affair with another of her adopted daughters, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen continues to beat this drum, telling CBS in a statement that the Farrows are simply seizing onto this cultural moment for … what? Their own dastardly ends? The Farrow-Allen-Soon-Yi affair happened back in 1992. ” The Farrow family is cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time’s Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation,” Allen’s statement insists.

Dylan Farrow points out that Allen’s defense has been accepted by many, who somehow find it far more plausible to believe that Dylan has spent many years of her life being vocal about her alleged abuse at the hands of her father because she was once “coached” by a vindictive rage-filled woman hell-bent on revenge.

Dylan Farrow wants us to think very carefully about that narrative, and why we rarely question Allen when she and Mia Farrow have faced such a firestorm.

“And what I don’t understand is, how is this crazy story of me being brainwashed and coached more believable than what I’m saying about being sexually assaulted by my father?” Farrow replied. “Except every step of the way, my mother has only encouraged me to tell the truth. She has never coached me.”

According to the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, 95% of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust. 95% percent. 84% percent of the sexual victimization of children under 12 occurs in a residence. When you think about statistics like this, what seems more likely: that Allen assaulted Dylan Farrow in their home when she was a child as she continues to maintain, or that Dylan Farrow, brainwashed by her harpy mother, lives simply to spread falsehoods about her famous adoptive father?

One is a tragic, horrific thing that happens to 20% of young girls before their 18th birthday, and the other is a misogynistic plot so outlandish even Allen wouldn’t film it. But no matter what you personally think about Farrow’s account, it’s undeniably awful that many people find the Mia Farrow’s Revenge plotline “more believable.” In our time of MeToo and Time’s Up, I’d like to think that’s changing; the fact that Dylan Farrow is now afforded a platform far larger than an open letter on a New York Times blog is encouraging.

That Dylan Farrow still meets with a credulous reception from those who would prefer to value Allen’s artistry over his alleged history of molestation is one of the persistent hurdles that women face as MeToo continues its march. Woody Allen is 82 years old now, but he’ll never be too old to be made to face the terrible things he is alleged to have done.

(via USA Today, image: CBS This Morning/screengrab)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.